For friends and family who have been following this seemingly never-ending topsy-turvy saga, I can report that we are almost, sort of, kinda, in the home stretch. Although, if things go south with either of these properties, we may just end up in a fancy yurt in the Stadtpark. I am an impatient person with these kinds of matters.
We’re still at the Derag, of course. Apartment/hotel living is interesting; now I know why Eloise had so much fun! The people watching is tremendously fascinating; two days ago a busload of French-speaking AARP-ish tourists were disgorged in the lobby just as we came down to walk Clayton Theodore, and the heady perfume mix made him sneeze! The last two days were hot (Vienna hit a record high!) and I’ve been astonished at how the Burqa-wearing residents of the Derag just carry on as if it were no big deal–pushing strollers, chasing their children, etc. I also watched a couple, the wife covered in her Burqa, take an evening stroll. Sweet, in that oppressive kind of way.
Very torn on the two favorite properties. It’s like choosing between a teeny-tiny version of a European estate (high ceilings, crown moldings, porcelain fireplace (decorative only)) in a slightly more urban setting…
…and a teeny-tiny version of a country house (green space, wine cellar, two kitchens, working fireplace) in a more “suburban” setting, but even that’s not the right word.
With the urban house, we have to share the backyard with everyone in the building, but can be to the park in 5 minutes. In the country house, we have our own green space and can walk 20 seconds past our yard to a common area with greenspace and a pergola to enjoy on pleasant afternoons (hahahha–do you like my delusions about leisure time?), plus we’re just a few minutes from being able to amble through the vineyards, and from the park. Such is my First World dilemma.
I visited the country house with the owner’s mother, an absolutely, 100% authentic, old-money European Frau. The temperature that afternoon was in the 90s, and yet she looked fresh and crisp, with not a single micro bead of perspiration above her impeccably manicured brow. She told me how they had purchased the house 30 years ago because her husband was into wine, renovated the house but never lived in it because her husband was called to London. They had exactly one party in the wine cellar, with the doors open to the street, and people thought their wine cellar was a heurigen! They invited a few people in, but then a neighbor called the Polizei, so she invited them in for wine, as well!
We talked about cooking, and how heavy Le Creuset pieces are; how the second kitchen downstairs would be very useful for dinner parties in the wine cellar, how our teenage son would love the “suite” adjacent to the wine cellar, as that was their plan for their son before they moved to London. Now she winters in the Cote d’Azur, and summers in her other Vienna flat (because it has a pool) when she is not at their London flat. She is in town now because her daughter (the owner) is moving from Moscow to Bodrum, via Brussels, so she will care for her grandsons while the move is in progress. She then took me on a tour of the Grinzing “village” and pointed out the preferred heurigens as well as her favorite place to buy flowers, and other important stores. As she was heading in my general direction, we rode the tram together, and she gently admonished me and said that I need to improve my German. And it didn’t even sound like criticism.